Finding the best fit for college

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Finding the best fit for college

One of the questions that comes up when I speak is, “Well, yes, Dr. Levine, but wouldn’t anybody want their child to go to Harvard?” Yes, on all this sort of soft stuff and intrinsic motivation. It’s not soft stuff. “No.” There are plenty of people who wouldn’t want their children to go to Harvard and Harvard is the wrong school for many, many children. We need to remember that school is a match. It’s not a prize, it’s not a ticket to success, it’s not a gold star ring. It’s got to be a match with your child. And if it’s not a match with your child. If you send your child to a big school when they will thrive in a smaller school, if you send your child to an ultra competitive school, like Harvard, when their strength is collaboration, it’s not going to be the place for them. So I think we need to stop thinking along the pornographic lines of US World News Report, which says there is a best school. There is no best school. There are multiple schools our children could go to and our job is to help them find the fit, not the prestige.
TEEN, Education, Applying to College

View Madeline Levine, PhD's video on Finding the best fit for college...


Expert Bio

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Madeline Levine, PhD

Psychologist & Author

Madeline Levine, PhD, is a psychologist with close to 30 years of experience as a clinician, consultant and educator. Her New York Times bestseller, The Price of Privilege, explores the reasons why teenagers from affluent families are experiencing epidemic rates of emotional problems.  Her book, Teach Your Children Well, outlines how our current narrow definition of success unnecessarily stresses academically talented kids and marginalizes many more whose talents and interests are less amenable to measurement. The development of skills needed to be successful in the 21st century- creativity, collaboration, innovation – are not easily developed in our competitive, fast-paced, high pressure world. Teach Your Children Well gives practical, research- based solutions to help parents return their families to healthier and saner versions of themselves.

Dr. Levine is also a co-founder of Challenge Success, a project born at the Stanford School of Education. Challenge Success believes that our increasingly competitive world has led to tremendous anxiety about our children’s’ futures and has resulted in a high pressure, myopic focus on grades, test scores and performance. This kind of pressure and narrow focus isn’t helping our kids become the resilient, capable, meaningful contributors we need in the 21st century. So every day, Challenge Success provides families and schools with the practical research-based tools they need to raise healthy, motivated kids, capable of reaching their full potential. We know that success is measured over the course of a lifetime, not at the end of the grading period.

Dr. Levine began her career as an elementary and junior high school teacher in the South Bronx of New York before moving to California and earning her degrees in psychology. She has had a large clinical practice with an emphasis on child and adolescent problems and parenting issues. Currently however, she spends most of her time crisscrossing the country speaking to parents, educators, students, and business leaders. Dr. Levine has taught Child Development classes to graduate students at the University of California Medical Center/ San Francisco. For many years, Dr. Levine has been a consultant to various schools, from preschool through High School, public as well as private, throughout the country. She has been featured on television programs from the Early Show to the Lehrer report, on NPR stations such as Diane Rheems in Washington and positively reviewed in publications from Scientific American to the Washington Post. She is sought out both nationally and internationally as an expert and keynote speaker. 

Dr. Levine and her husband of 35 years, Lee Schwartz, MD are the incredibly proud (and slightly relieved) parents of three newly minted and thriving sons.

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